Woman trying to clear a clogged ear by shaking water out of it.

You try swallowing hard and yawning but to no avail, your ears are clogged and there’s nothing you can do about it. You’ve attempted opening your ear canal with your finger, popping your ear, and even chewing gum. Sooner or later, you might think about giving up and just keep your fingers crossed your ear clears up on its own. But if you have drainage, pain, or the symptoms of an ear infection, this would be a bad idea.

A little passageway that links the middle ear to the space behind the nose and regulates the pressure that goes the ears, called the eustachian tube, will become clogged if it stays closed or open for too long. The tube normally opens and closes as you yawn or swallow, which you might notice by a crackling noise or pop in your ears. Common hormonal changes cause the ear to remain open and viruses or ear infections will cause the ear to stay closed. It could take your ears a little while to go back to normal but both issues will go away with time.

Another cause of blocked ears is buildup of earwax. This type of ear blockage can be cleared with treatments, either at home or at a hearing specialist depending on its intensity. When dealing with plugged ears, here are some guidelines:

Try Droplets of Hydrogen Peroxide Into Your Ear

Hydrogen peroxide, if correctly employed, can break up earwax. Hearing experts suggest that you mix the solution with warm water making certain that the water isn’t too hot and then putting a drop or two in your ear with a dropper. After you tilt your ear upward and put the drops in, a few seconds should be sufficient to break up the wax clog. You may need to do this a few times a day for a couple of days, but ultimately, the blockage should clear up.

Don’t Stick Anything in Your Ear to Clean it

This can’t be overstated: don’t use a cotton swab to try and unclog your ear, because you will only worsen the problem. Cotton swabs actually force earwax deeper into your ear canal, which can cause a total blockage. Even hearing aids and earplugs can, in fact, cause an earwax clog. Cotton swabs should only be used on your outer ear in order to avoid causing blockage.

Your Allergies Need to be Treated

Plugged ears are commonly made worse by allergies. Take your allergy treatments and follow your doctor’s advice on how to manage it. Unneeded allergens should be limited during allergy season especially but also the rest of the year.

If a Remedy Sounds Odd, Stay Clear of it

We probably shouldn’t need to tell you this, but you certainly should not stick a lit candle into your ear to get rid of an earwax clog. Ear candling is an old and very unscientific method of clearing earwax by inserting a hollow candle in your ear and lighting it. In theory, earwax is pulled into the hollow space inside the candle when the heat of the flame creates a vacuum. This doesn’t work and you will likely cause a lot more harm to your ears. Remember, if it sounds strange you should consult a professional. Don’t chance damaging your hearing by just trying anything.

You should contact us if your ears don’t clear up. Improper wax removal can trigger severe problems in your ears, like a ruptured eardrum or lasting hearing loss.